Defining the tipping point. A complex cellular life/death balance in corals in response to stress

Ainsworth, T.D., Wasmund, K., Ukani, L., Seneca, F., Yellowlees, D., Miller, D., and Leggat, W. (2011) Defining the tipping point. A complex cellular life/death balance in corals in response to stress. Scientific Report, 1. 160. pp. 1-9.

PDF (Published version) - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial Share Alike.

Download (1MB)
View at Publisher Website:


Apoptotic cell death has been implicated in coral bleaching but the molecules involved and the mechanisms by which apoptosis is regulated are only now being identified. In contrast the mechanisms underlying apoptosis in higher animals are relatively well understood. To better understand the response of corals to thermal stress, the expression of coral homologs of six key regulators of apoptosis was studied in Acropora aspera under conditions simulating those of a mass bleaching event. Significant changes in expression were detected between the daily minimum and maximum temperatures. Maximum daily temperatures from as low as 3°C below the bleaching threshold resulted in significant changes in both pro- and anti-apoptotic gene expression. The results suggest that the control of apoptosis is highly complex in this eukaryote-eukaryote endosymbiosis and that apoptotic cell death cascades potentially play key roles tipping the cellular life/death balance during environmental stress prior to the onset of coral bleaching.

Item ID: 21209
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2045-2322
Additional Information:

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit

Date Deposited: 26 Mar 2012 05:38
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960506 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Fresh, Ground and Surface Water Environments @ 100%
Downloads: Total: 1108
Last 12 Months: 95
More Statistics

Actions (Repository Staff Only)

Item Control Page Item Control Page